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secretary of state. we all know her well. are all aware that she has been doing an absolutely outstanding job in a world that refuses even for a minute to stand still. in less than three years, she has helped president obama restore our nation's reputation and leadership, lent fresh energy to a partnership across the globe, and created a new foundation for progress on issues that range from terrorism -- range from terrorism and arms control to human development and the empowerment of women. in the process, she has assembled a stellar state department team, made creative use of every available foreign policy tool, earned the abiding respect of our armed forces, and generated enthusiasm for -- enthusiasm wherever she has traveled. those of us who have seen her
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abroad know that she is an incomparable representative for our country. she does not just make appearances. she makes connections, by explaining the goals that guide our actions in the interests that we share with law-abiding people on every continent. what you may not know is that our secretary of state has also been a stalwart defender of ndi in a number of countries where our work has been challenged and our status placed in jeopardy. given her position, it would have been easy for her to point to the press of other business and priorities, but, instead, she has made clear that defending the truth about what we do is a priority and that, on her watch, supporting democratic institutions and values that the very heart of american foreign policy -- is at the very heart of american foreign policy. she has acted in a timely and effective way to keep our
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alliances together, maintain our nation's commitments, defend our security and our ideals. it gives me great pleasure to introduce one friend to many others. please welcome secretary of state hillary clinton -- hillary rodham clinton. [applause] everybody in this firm supports you and -- in this room supports you and -- in the death of your truly extraordinary mother. >> thank you. it is a great pleasure for me to be here this evening. gbagbo my friend and predecessor, madeleine albright
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-- i thank my friend and predecessor, madeleine albright, for her friendship and her leadership. thanks to sherry and ken for inviting me here today. i want to begin by wishing and even -- an -- to muslims here and around the world. when the streets of arab cities were quiet, the national democratic institute was already on the ground, building relationships, supporting the voices that would turn a long air of winter into a new era of spring -- air of spring. may not know where and when brave people will claim their rights -- we may not know where and when ray people will claim their rights next, but in dia --
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but ndi is there now. ndi and its siblings and the national endowment for democracy family have become vital elements -- in the national endowment for democracy family have become vital elements or how we engage with the world. and i, i want to particularly congratulate the warreners -- tonight, i want to particularly congratulate the winners of the awards. women risk everything to demand their rights for the egyptian people and they preserve those rights extended to them. .e're grateful for their work we hope to see the rights that they have fought for and advocated for enshrined in the aegis new constitution -- in egypt's new constitution. we are proud to support these
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through our initiative. [applause] tonight, it is also a singular, special honor for me to join with you in remembering three friends of ndi. three people i was lucky enough to call my friends as well. to live the to the fullest her convictions that women belong at the heart of democracy. a passionate chairman of the democratic national committee who understood some things are too important to belong to anyone party. with his counter partner at the rnc put together a bipartisan coalition to found the democracy. and the unforgettable richard
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holbrooke. richard has many reasons why those of us here tonight applaud and remember him. he died just four days before the desperate act that the motions. i wonder what he would have made of all the actions since. i am sure he would have had a lot to say and even more that he wanted to do to promote the principles that we all cherish. these three individuals are very worthy of the awards that you have granted and this evening. what a year 2011 has been for freedom in the middle east and north africa. we have seen what may have well been the first arab revolution for democracy, then the second
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and the third. in him and people are demanding a transition to democracy they deserve to see delivered. syrians are refusing to relent until they can decide their own future. i want to single out someone who is here with us tonight. when our ambassador to syria was mobbed, salted, and threatened just for meeting with peaceful protesters, he put his personal safety on the line to let the syrian people know that america stands with them. he said he was inspired by his bravery. as he drove into a city under
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assault by the regime. the people of that city covered his car with flowers. please join me by giving a warm welcome to ambassador robert ford. [applause] thank you robert and allison for your dedicated service to our country. i have met people lifted by the sense that their teachers actually do belong to them. in my travels in the region i have heard purpose and new-
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found pride i have also heard questions. i have heard skepticism about the americans' motives and a commitment. people wonder if after decades of working with the governments of the region, in america does not long for the old days. i have heard from activist who think we are not pushing hard enough for democratic change. i have heard from government officials who think we are pushing too hard. i have heard from people asking why our policies vary from country to country. what would happen if elections bring to power party is we do not agree with or people who just do not like us to very much. i have heard people asking in america to solve all of their problems and others wondering whether we have any role to play at all.
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beneath our excitement for the millions who are claiming the rights and freedoms we cherish, many americans are asking the same questions. tonight i want to ask and answer a few of these tough questions. it is a fitting tribute to people like the jury ferreira and richard holbrooke. they like to pose difficult questions and push us to answer them. and richard's case, that meant even following me into a ladie'' room in pakistan one time. as we live this history day-by- day, we approach these questions with a large dose of humility. many of the choice is a head are honestly not ours to make. still it is worth stepping back and doing our best to speak directly to what is on people's
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minds. let me start with one question high here often. do we really believe that democratic change in the middle east and north africa is in america's interest? that is a totally fair question. after all, transitions are filled with uncertainty. they can be chaotic, and stable, even violent. even if they succeed, there are rarely lanier, quick, or easy. as we saw in the balkans and again in iraq, rivalries between members but of different religions, sects, and the tribes can resurface and explode. toppling tyrants does not guarantee that democracy will follow or last. just ask the iranians who overthrew dictator 32 years ago only to have the rest -- revolution hijacked by extremists who have oppressed
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them ever since. even where democracy does take hold, it is a safe bet that some of those selected will not embarrass us or agree with our policies. -- will not embrace us or agree with policies. as obama said, it will be the policy of the united states to promote reform across the region. we believe real democratic change in the middle east and north africa is in the national interest of the united states. here is why. we begin by rejecting the choice between progress and stability. for years dictators' told their people they had to accept the autocrats they knew to avoid extreme as they feared. too often we accepted that
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narrative ourselves. now, america did push for reform, but often not hardy enough for publicly enough. today we recognize that the real choice is between reform and unrest. last january i told arab leaders that the region's foundations or sinking into the sand. even if we don't know when the breaking point would come, it was clear that the status quo was unsustainable. after a year of resolutions and broadcast on al jazeera into homes to rabat, going back to the way things were in december
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of 2010, it is not just undesirable, it is impossible. the trick is that the greatest single source of stability -- instability in today's middle east is not the demand for change, it is the refusal to change. that is certainly true in syria where a crackdown on small peaceful protests drew thousands into the streets and thousands more over the borders. it is true in him and where president has reneged repeatedly on his promises to transition into democracy and a suppressed peoples rights and freedoms. it is true in egypt if over time the most powerful political force in egypt remains, they will have planted the seed for future unrest. the jet sends will have missed a
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historic opportunity. -- egyptians will have missed a historic opportunity. so we. democracies make for more stable partners. they trade more, innovate more, and fight less. he helped defied societies to air and resolve their differences. they hold in leaders accountable at the polls. the channel peoples energy's away from extremism and toward political and civic engagement. democracies do not always agree with us. in the middle east and north africa, they may disagree strongly with some of our policies. at the end of the day, it is no coincidence that our closest allies from britain to south korea are democracies. we do work with many different governments to pursue our interests and keep americans sick. certainly not all of them are
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democracies. as the fall of mubarak in egypt made clear, in cooperation ec will be difficult to sustain a without democratic legitimacy and that public consent. we cannot have one set of policies to enhance security in the here and now and another to promote democracy in a long run that never quite arrives. so for all of these reasons as i said back in march, opening political systems, societies, and the economies is not simply a matter of idealism. it is a strategic necessity. but we are not simply asking in our self-interest. americans believe that the desire for dignity and self- determination is universal. we do try to act on that belief around the world. americans have fought and died for these ideals.
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when freedom gains ground anywhere, americans are inspired. the risks posed by transitions will not keep us from pursuing positive change. they do raise the stakes for getting it right. free, fair, and meaningful elections are essential, but they are not enough if they bring autocrats to power or disenfranchised minorities. in any democracy that does not include half of its population is women, it is a contradiction in terms. durable democracies depend on strong, civil societies with respect for the rule of law, independent institutions, free expression, and a free press. legitimate political parties cannot have a militia a wink and a political wing. parties have to accept the result of free and fair elections.
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this is not just in the middle east. the answer starts with a practical point. situations differ dramatically from country to country. it would be foolish to take a one size fits all approach and barrel forward regardless of circumstances on the ground. sometimes as and libya we can bring dozens of countries together to protect civilians and help people liberate their country without a single
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american life lost. in other cases, to achieve the same goal we would have to act alone had a much greater cost with christopher risks and with troops on the ground. that is just part of the answer. overtime and more democratic middle east and north africa can provide a more sustainable basis for addressing all three of those challenges. there will be times when not all of our interests aligned. we were to apply them, but that is just reality. as a country with many complex interests, we will always have to walk and chew gum at the same time. that is our challenge in a
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country like bahrain which as been a america's close friend and partner or decades. yes america -- yes president obama and i have been frank in public and private that mass arrests are at odds with the universal rights of their citizens and will not make it legitimate calls for reform go away. meaningful reform and equal treatment for all or rainey's are and bahrain's interest. unless hon rest benefits iran and extremists. the government has recognized the need for dialogue and concrete reforms. they have committed to provide access to human rights groups to provide a peaceful protest and insure those who crosslines and responding to civil unrest are held accountable. he called for an independent
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commission of inquiry which we will issue their report soon. how we do intend to hold the more bahraini government accountable to secure a lasting reform. we also have a candid conversations with others in the neighborhood like saudi arabia, a country that is key to stability and peace. our view that democratic avant -- advancement is not just possible, but a necessary part of preparing for the future. fundamentally, there is their right side to history. we want to be on it. without exception, we want our partners in the region to reform so they are on it as well. we don't expect countries to do this overnight, but with their reforms we are convinced their challenges will only grow. it is in their interest to begin
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now. these questions about our interest and consistency to merge in a third a difficult question. how will america respond if and when democracy breaks to power people and parties would disagree with. we hear these questions most often when it comes to his longest religious parties. of course, i hasten to add that not all islamist are alike. turkey and iran bank are both govern by -- their attitudes are different. there are plenty of political parties with affiliation. they respect the rules of democratic politics. the suggestion that a faithful muslims cannot thrive in a democracy is insulting, dangerous, and wrong. they do it in this country every
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day. reasonable people can disagree on a lot, but there are things that all parties, religious and secular, must be right. not just for us to trust them, but most importantly for the people of the region and of the countries themselves to trust them to protect their hard-won rights. parties committed to democracies must reject violence. they must abide by the rule of law and respect the freedoms of speech, religion, association, and assembly. they must respect the rights of women and minorities. they must let go of power if defeated at the calls. in a region with a deep divisions within and between religions, they cannot be the spark that starts kong -- a confrontation. what part is called themselves as less important to us and what
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they actually do. we applaud ndi across the political spectrum and around the globe. we needed to reinforce these norms and hold people accountable for following them. in tunisia, and the islamist party has just won a plurality of the votes in an open, competitive election. its leaders have promised to embrace freedom of religion and full rights for women. to write a constitution and govern, they will have to persuade secular parties to work with them. as they do, america will work with them to. the share the desire to see a tunisian democracy merge that delivers for its citizens. because america respects the right of the tunisian people to choose their own leaders. the move forward with clear
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convictions. parties and candidates must respect the rules of democracy to take part of the elections and hold elective office. no one has the right to use the trappings of democracy to deny the rights and security of others. people throughout the region agree about this prospect, and so do we. nobody wants that other iran. nobody wants political parties with military wings and militant for policies gain influence. when members of any groups seek to oppress their fellow citizens or undermine core democratic principles, we will stand on this side of the people who pushed back to defend their democracy. that brings me to my next question. what is america's role in the arab spring? these resolutions are not ours. they are not by as, for us, or
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against us. we do have a role. we have the resources, capabilities, and expertise to support those who seek peaceful, meaningful democratic reform. with so much that can go wrong and so much that can go right, support for emerging democratic democracies is an investment we cannot afford not to make. of course, we have to be smart and how we go about it. for example, as tens of millions of young people enter the job market each year, we recognize that the arab political awakening was also -- promoting trade, investment, regional investment, and economic reforms career helping society by replacing old politics and patronage with a
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new focus on economic empowerment and opportunity. we are working with congress on debt relief for egypt and loan guarantees so had to these countries can invest in their own futures. we also have real expertise to offer a democracy including the wisdom to support democratic transitions. democracies after all are not to born knowing how to run themselves. in a country like libya, gaddafi spent 42 years hollowing out every part of his government, not connected to will work to keeping him in power. under the libyan penal code, simply joining in ngo can be punishable by death. when i traveled last month to libya, the students i met had
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all sorts of practical and even technical questions. how'd you form a political party? how do you ensure women's participation in government institutions? where recommendations do you have for citizens in a democracy? he's our questions in the eye and its organizations, many of whom are represented here tonight, are uniquely qualified to help the democracies answer. ndi has earned a lot of praise for this work, but also a lot of push back that stretches far beyond the arab world. impart this comes from misconceptions about what our support for democracy does and does not include. the united states does not fund political candidates or political parties. we do offer training to parties and candidates committed to democracies. we do not try to shift outcomes or impose an american model.
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we do support election commissions as well as non- governmental election monitor or is to ensure free and fair balloting. we help watchdog groups learn their trade. we help groups find the tools to exercise their rights to free expression and assembly online and off. we support civil society, the life blood of democratic politics. in part, the push back comes from autocrats around the world wondering if the next tahrir square will be there capitol square. some are cracking down when they should be opening up. groups like ndi are no pressures to pressure and there are the group to partner with. i want you to know that as the pressure on you increases, our support will not waver. i've been to offer a special word of thanks for ndi's efforts
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to empower women across the middle east and beyond. just last week the world economic forum released a report on the remarkable benefits countries to see when a bridge to the social, economic, and political gaps separating women from men and helping them get there is a priority for the state department and for me personally. graduates of ndi training programs now sit in local councils and parliaments from morocco to kuwait. we all agree deal of work lies ahead to help all people, women and men, find justice and opportunity as full participants in the democratic societies. along with our economic and technical help, america will also use our present, influence, and global leadership to support change.
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it means standing up for tolerance one state run television fans sectarian sections. means that when unelected authority said it was to be out of the business of governing, we will look to them to lay out a clear road map and urge them to abide by it. when countries are making gradual reforms, we have a frank conversations and urge them to move faster. it is good to hold multi-party elections and allow women to take part. it is better when they are meaningful and parliaments have real powers to improve people's lives. change needs to be tangible and real. when autocrats tallest the
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transition to democracy will take time, we answer, let's get started. for those leaders try to hold back the future at the point of a gun should know their days are numbered. has the syrians gather to celebrate a sacred holiday, there government continues to shoot people in the street. he has systematically violated each of its basic requirements. he has not released all detainees, he has not allowed free and unfettered access to journalists or an arab league the monitors. he has not withdrawn all armed forces from populated areas. he has certainly not stop all acts of filings. in fact, the regime has increased violence against civilians in places like the city.
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he may be because -- he may be able to delay change, but he cannot deny legitimate demands indefinitely. he must step down. until he does, america and the international community will continue to increase pressure on him and his regime. there is no country in the middle east or the gulf between rulers and ruled is greater. when iran claims to support democracy abroad and kills a peaceful protesters in the streets of to one, it is breathtaking and plan to the people of the region. there is one last question i asked him one form or the other all the time. what about the rights and aspirations of the palestinians? israelis and palestinians are not immune to the profound changes sweeping the region. make no mistake, president obama and i believe that the
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palestinian people, just like their arab neighbors, just like israelis, just like us, deserve dignity, liberty, and the right to decide their own future. they deserve an independent, democratic palestinian state of their own alongside a secure jewish democracy next door. we know from decades in the diplomatic trenches that the only way to get there is three negotiated peace. a piece we worked every day to achieve despite all the setbacks. we understand israel faces risks in a changing region. just as it did before the arab spring began. it will remain an american priority to ensure that all parties honor the peace treaties that have signed and commitments to have made it. we will always help israel defend itself.
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we will address threats to regional peace whether they come from dictatorship toward democracy's. it will be shortsighted to see that either side can put peacemaking on hold until the current upheaval is done. the trick is a stalemate in the arab-israeli conflict is one more status quo in the middle east cannot be sustained. this brings me to my last, and perhaps most important, point of all. for all of the hard questions i have asked and try to answer on behalf of the united states, the most important consequence a question of all are those two leaders of the region will have to answer for themselves. ultimately it is up to them. it is up to them to resist the calls of demagogues. to build coalitions and keep faith in a system even when they lose at the polls.
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to protect the principles and institutions that ultimately will protect them. every democracy has to guard against those who would hijack its freedoms for its noble ends. our founders and every generation sense have fought to prevent that from happening here. the founding fathers and mothers of arab resolutions -- revolutions must indeed the same. no one there's a greater responsibility for what happens next. when deputy secretary addresses the national endowment for democracy over the summer, he recounted the story of an egyptian teenager who told her father a few years back that she wanted to spend her life bringing democracy to egypt. good, her father said. and then you will always have a job. we should never fall prey to the
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belief that human beings ever are not ready for freedom. in the 1970's, people said latin america and east asia were not ready trade the 1980's began proving them wrong. in the 1980's, it was african soil where democracy supposedly could not grow. the 1990's started proving them wrong. until this year, some people said arabs don't really want democracy. well, starting in 2011 that is also being proved wrong. funny enough, it proves that the egyptian father right. we all still have a job to do. we have to keep at it. we have to keep asking the tough questions. we have to be honest with ourselves and each other about the answers we offer. we can not waver in our commitment to help the people of the middle east and north africa
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realize their own god-given potential security dreams the risk so much to make real. on this journey that they have begun, the united states will be their partner. of the many tools at our disposal, the national endowment and ndi and families of all organizations created three decades ago to help people make this journey successfully will be right there. i heard a madeline say when she introduced me and that i defend ndi. i do, and also defend iri. i defend as organizations that we have created that the american taxpayer pay for who try to do what needs to be done
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to translate the rhetoric and calls for democracy into the reality. it step-by-step. we have to be reminded from time to time that it can seem to be a foreign language. solid you how have met with the young people who started these revolutions -- some of you i have met with young people who started these revolutions. still not clear what it takes to translate that passion into reality within a political system. there are like to be a lot of bumps along this road. far better that we travel this path. we do what we can to make sure that our ideals and values -- our beliefs and experience and our beliefs and experience and democracy are

Secretary Hillary Clinton
CSPAN November 12, 2011 4:55pm-5:35pm EST

Series/Special. A speech on the U.S. role in the Arab Spring. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY America 13, Us 12, Ndi 10, Egypt 6, North Africa 5, Iran 4, United States 4, Libya 3, Bahrain 2, Israel 2, Madeleine Albright 2, Syria 2, Obama 2, Ec 1, Christopher 1, Rainey 1, Gaddafi 1, Holbrooke 1, Ferreira 1, Lanier 1
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